By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
ORLANDO, FLA. – Last month’s restructuring of Whirlpool’s U.S. sales force moved it from a channel-based to a territory-based organization.
Whirlpool buying group director Mark Hecht explained to independent dealers during a briefing at MEGA Group USA’s national meeting here last week that the move combined the manufacturer’s retail sales team with the contract and builder channel group.
On the local level one person will head up a combined sales team within each market, he said.
Hecht noted that Whirlpool is also bringing much of its manufacturing back to the U.S., including production of front-load washers, which is moving from Germany to its plant in Clyde, Ohio. The company is also rebuilding its 100-year-old facility in Cleveland, Tenn., into what he described as “the largest cooking plant in the world.” Already 82 percent of Whirlpool’s U.S. products are produced domestically, he noted.
Hecht added that Whirlpool is introducing innovative new products across all categories this year, which will help buoy margins and profitability. “If this becomes a commodity business, we’re all in trouble,” he told MEGA members. “But if you give the customer something that will make their lives easier, they will pay more for it and everyone wins — the retailer, the manufacturer and the consumer.”
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